In this Dec. 20, 2018 photo, a driver walks away from the school bus parking lot after his morning shift, in Omaha, Neb. School districts throughout the country are struggling to find school bus drivers, a challenge that has worsened with low unemployment and a strong economy that gives workers a greater choice of jobs. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

School bus driver shortage creates headaches for districts

December 23, 2018 - 8:01 am

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — School districts throughout the U.S. are struggling to find school bus drivers, a challenge that has worsened with low unemployment and a strong economy.

The problem has become so severe that some districts are offering sign-up bonuses for new drivers, while others rely on mechanics, custodians and other school employees to fill the gap. For parents and students, the shortage can mean longer waits for a ride to school and more crowded buses.

The shortage stems from a variety of factors, including limited hours to work and high barriers to entry. Drivers generally need a commercial driver's license, which requires training, sometimes without pay.